Anatomy of a Voice Card

Voice Card  -  Volume 0  -  John Card Number 4  -  Sun, Jul 3, 1988 9:02 PM

At the top of every voice card is a gray title bar which holds a brief description of the card. To the left of the title is a bullhorn icon which turns dark after the card has been examined. To the right is the icon of the member who created the card.

Below the title bar is a masthead which contains the volume number, card number, and the date and time the card was created.

The left half of the card below the masthead contains twelve reply boxes. Initially, these boxes are simply labeled "Reply 1", "Reply 2", etc. But when the volume is re-released (in the following issue of Archipelago), response links may occupy some of these boxes. If any member responds to a card (by pushing the RESPOND button), his icon is placed in one of the reply boxes of the original card. By pushing one of these response link icons, a reader can immediately jump to a particular response. An example of the response link feature appears later on in this volume.

The scrolling text field is located to the right of the response boxes and can hold an arbitrarily long piece of text. The text field is automatically scrolled to the top whenever a card is opened.

The lower left corner of the voice card contains a standard Archipelago button (that returns to the main screen) and, if this is the most recent volume, this corner also contains the RESPOND and NEW CARD buttons. The RESPOND button may be used to create a new voice card that is a direct response to the card currently displayed. The NEW CARD button will create a voice card that is independent of any previous card. The process of creating voice cards is discussed in more detail later in this series.

The three gray rectangles below the text field house the browsing buttons; up to six different buttons can appear in this area. The three buttons which always appear are the left and right arrows in the center box, which move forward and backward through the volume, and the bent return arrow in the rightmost box, which returns to the index card at the front of the volume.

If the current card is a response to a previous voice card, a downward pointing arrow will appear in the first of the three boxes. If pushed, this down arrow will lead to the card which generated the response (usually located in the previous volume). If this previous card was also a response, it too will have a down arrow; thus it is possible to follow a trail of responses by pushing down arrows until one arrives at the first card in the series (which will not have a down arrow). All response cards show a down arrow and include a sentence at the top of the text field which refers to the earlier card.

If there is more than one response to a certain card, all of these responses will be linked together by left and right pointing hand buttons which will be visible on either side of the down arrow. For example, suppose that a particularly exciting card appears in volume 23. The card is so provocative that no less than seven members reply to it. In the next issue, when volume 23 is re-released, seven member icons will appear in the original card's reply boxes. Pushing one of these icons will lead to one of the seven replies scattered throughout volume 24. Each one of these seven cards will contain a down arrow (since they are all responses) AND each one of the seven will also contain a set of pointing hand buttons. Pushing the forward hand in the first response card will lead to the second response, and from there the third response, and so on. These hand buttons make it possible to read all the responses to a particular card without having to search for them one by one through an entire volume. Once we have several volumes under our belts, this feature will become familiar.

One final feature (just for fun): Pressing the bullhorn icon or the creator icon causes the text of the card to be read aloud by an absurd computer synthesized voice. The voice can be halted between paragraphs by holding down the command key and typing a period. In order for this feature to work, you must have a copy of the Macintalk file located in your system folder. (A copy of Macintalk is included with the first issue of Archipelago.)